Customers always seem to think that their problems are by extension my problem. And that the normal laws of supply, demand and merchandise seasonality magically do not apply to them once they've decided they want something.
Summer merchandise started appearing on our store shelves in March. Which, if you live in the southern United States, is not really too early. It is HOT here. Well, from month three to month ten is a span of SEVEN months. We've gone through the fall/back-to-school merchandise cycle and are rapidly moving into winter.
So, deciding that little Sonny Num-Nums has to have a $200 kiddie water slide that you saw on the shelf in March for tomorrow's birthday party isn't really my problem. You just want it now because you think you can get it on sale.
So the sales associate in Toys tells the woman we don't have any more. She comes up to Customer Service.
First, she wants me to check the computer to see if we really do have another one. We don't. Then I have to check for the larger size. And the smaller size.
And then I have to start checking the computer for the closest stores that have the one she wanted the first time around. And then the larger size. And then the smaller size.
There aren't a lot out there. Only one or two stores still have them. I politely tell her "This is early summer merchandise. We stopped ordering this in June."
"Well, I'm getting one for his party," she goes. And she finally decides on the middle size, the one that started the whole mess. I look in the computer and find out that the store out by the Interstate allegedly has three of them.
I tell her. She goes "I was there last week and I didn't see them. I want you to call and have them hold it for me. I'm going to go get breakfast at McDonald's. I'll be back in ten minutes."
And off she rolls. With little Num-Nums in tow. I start dialing and getting put on hold. And I get cut off. I call again. Hold. Cut off. Call. Hold. Cut off. Well, what did I expect? Calling a Wal-Mart on a Saturday morning?
Then I try a SuperCenter just across the county line that's really close to the Interstate. I stay on hold forever. She comes back and says "I'm ready to go."
When I tell her that I still haven't talked to anyone at either store, she gets angry at me. "I just don't like the service I'm getting today."
Oh? Well, I don't like the attitude I'm getting from you. And I've spent 40 minutes on the computer and on the phone trying to find seven-month old clearance merchandise that you're probably going to return the day after tomorrow anyway.
I finally get a person at one store - and they're out. She's really unhappy now. "I've got to have one for his party" she keeps saying, as if repeating it is going to matter to me.
I just call my supervisor and tell her to get a manager. I've had it with this crazy woman. "I just don't like the service I'm getting today." -- I have never in my life heard such inane crap come out of someone's mouth - especially when I've done nothing but actually TRY TO HELP YOU!